2013 Canadian Thoroughbred Season Begins With Opening Weekend at Hastings Racecourse

April 15, 2013

Vancouver, B.C. (April 15/13) – Veteran jockeys Richard Hamel and Aaron Gryder captivated the attention of racing fans on opening weekend at Hastings Racecourse, the first track in Canada to launch its 2013 thoroughbred season.

Hamel, a two-time BC Derby winner and leading rider at Hastings in 2010 and 2011, stole the show on opening day Saturday with four wins. The popular native of Terrace, B.C. opened the 2013 meet by scoring back-to-back victories for trainer Steve Henson in the first two races of the new season.

Gryder, riding at Hastings for the first time in his illustrious career, made his debut a memorable one with his win aboard Castinette Dancer in Race 3 of the eight-race card Saturday afternoon.

“It’s always nice to make a good impression right off the bat,” Gryder said.  “It was a great start to a whole new adventure for me.”

Gryder, 42, arrived in Vancouver from Santa Anita on April 7 after signing a contract with owner Glen Todd, who races under the stable name North American Thoroughbred Horse Company (NATHC). In a riding career that began in 1987, Gryder’s mounts have earned more than $112 million with his most celebrated victory aboard Well Armed in the $6 million Dubai World Cup 2009.

Raj Mutti, General Manager, BC Racing and General Manager at Hastings, describes Gryder as “a terrific ambassador for racing” and refers to the 2013 roster of jockeys at Hastings as “one of the best ever”.  Besides Hamel and Gryder, last year’s leading rider Amadeo Perez is expected to be on the grounds this week upon his arrival from Mexico.  Also among the group are homebrew Scott Williams who rode in Edmonton last season and won two races Sunday at Hastings, along with Fernando Perez  – runner-up to Amadeo Perez in 2012 – and Marlo Dunn, last year’s leading apprentice jockey.

Racing resumes Saturday and Sunday – April 20 & 21 – at 1:50 p.m.  The first of 40 stakes races are scheduled for the following weekend with the Brighouse Belles on Saturday, April 27 and George Royal on Sunday, April 28.

Hastings Racecourse & Casino is located in Vancouver, B.C. and features live and simulcast wagering, a vibrant slot gaming floor, numerous dining operations, private and public event facility rental opportunities, spectacular views of the North Shore Mountains and outstanding guest services.

For further information:

Raj Mutti:  604.216.5245
Howard Blank:  604.512.6066